It’s that time of the semester again, the time to take your college midterms. On the day of reckoning, you mentally prepare yourself for what is to come, “Okay, you got this! You studied really hard. Well, sort of. But you’re gonna so ace this exam! Right? Of course. Stop doubting yourself, damn it!” And the emotional turmoil swings into action until finally, your professor hands out the test and you’re off!
One week goes by, maybe another until sweet mother of God, you finally receive your score back. You brace yourself, take a deep breath and flip the page over to find….
“See me after class. We need to talk,” scribbled at the bottom of the page.
Now, I’m not saying this has happens to everyone, but it most certainly can. In fact, I know all too well about a college-bombing situation such as this one. Allow me to share…
For my first ever college essay, I received a heart breaking comment similar to the one stated above including a beautiful “D” circled right next to it. I was speechless. English in high school was considered my high-point and I never got a grade this low for any of my high school essays. But then again, I wasn’t in high school anymore.
So what do you do at a time like this? Well, the first thing I did was jump out of my seat (after sitting their feeling paralyzed for the first 5 minutes) and spoke with my professor immediately after class, just as her comment instructed me to. All she told me was “I didn’t finish reading your essay because it was too wordy and disorganized. You would have received this grade even if I did finish reading it”. That wasn’t a good enough answer for me. So I demanded (asked politely in the sweetest Little Bo-Peep voice I could) if I could meet with her after class to talk about how I could improve my grade. She agreed and we settled for a 2pm meeting that same day. When I finally got back to my dorm, I burst into tears and spouted angry and hateful words about my professor to my pillow followed by some serious teen angst music blasting from my laptop at high volume.
As I mentally replayed my professors explanation to me about my crappy grade, clouds of rage fumed out of my ears. “How could she give me a bad grade on an essay she didn’t even finish reading? I demand a re-read, this is unjust! Does she hate me? She totally hates me”. But at last, 2pm arrived and I found myself nervously sitting at my professors office as she took a second look at my essay.
If there is one word of advice I could give to anyone entering college, it would be to never feel ashamed in asking for help. If you care about your academics and understand the value of how much money tuition costs your parents, then you will do anything in your power to assure yourself a good academic standing in college.
I honestly thought my college english class would be the least of worries but it turned out, I was wrong. Even when I thought those past 3 days planning and drafting my essay would bring me a solid grade home, I was utterly mistaken. Anger and frustration towards my grade were unmistakable feelings but to who do I blame for such a terrible score? Me. Even when I thought I knew what I was doing, I really didn’t. I thought I would get a good grade. I thought my teacher would praise me for my writing and how effectively I argued my point made in the thesis. Instead, I got a slap on the face and a huge wake-up call. Guess thats what ‘getting schooled’ feels like.
At our meeting, my professor and I discussed why my essay was so poorly written and even planned out a new thesis statement to start fresh with. We mapped out a new technique for me to better prepare myself for an argumentative essay and backed up my new assertion with excellent supporting statements. She even apologized for making me feel so nervous about my grade and assured me that my writing will improve in good time. After an hour of discussing and planning, I left my professor’s office feeling a lot better about my “D” mainly because I now knew how to turn it into a solid “A”.
All that resentment and bad attitude towards my professor suddenly vanished and two days later, I stopped my her office once again so she could revise the first draft of my new essay she had me write.
“Much better. This is looking really good already!”
And she hadn’t even finished reading it yet.
– The Paintress